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Iaffaldano v. Sunwest Mortgage Company, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

January 4, 2018

MICHELINA IAFFALDANO, Plaintiff,
v.
SUNWEST MORTGAGE COMPANY, INC. and PROCTOR FINANCIAL INC., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE EXPERT TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM D. HAGER PROFFERED BY DEFENDANT PROCTOR FINANCIAL

          ROBIN L. ROSENBERG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS CAUSE is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Exclude Expert Testimony of William D. Hager Proffered by Defendant Proctor Financial [DE 88]. The Court has carefully reviewed Plaintiff's Motion and Defendant's response in opposition [DE 98], and is otherwise fully advised in the premises. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff has brought a RESPA claim against Defendant Sun West and a claim of tortious interference with a business relationship against Defendant Proctor. See DE 23 & 78. In August 2014, Defendant SunWest obtained force-placed hazard and flood insurance policies on Plaintiff's property. DE 23 ¶ 14. Plaintiff alleges that these policies' premiums were considerably higher than the premiums on policies that could have been obtained through other carriers. Id. ¶ 16. Plaintiff also alleges that Sun West has outsourced some of its mortgage servicing activities to Proctor, id. ¶ 26, and that the Defendants have engaged in a scheme to manipulate the force-placed insurance policies to allot commission to Defendant Proctor, id. ¶ 26.

         Defendant Proctor retained William D. Hager as an insurance expert in this case. Hager prepared a report in which he opines that:

1) Force placed insurance in and of itself means higher risk, meaning a higher premium;
2) The $4, 930 annual premium was reasonable and consistent with the significantly higher risk; and
3) The premiums were not overpriced and were at levels dictated by statute.

See DE 88-1 at 14-16.

         Plaintiff concedes that Hager “has the qualifications necessary to prepare an appropriate report.” DE 88 at 2. Plaintiff moves to exclude Hager's opinions and testimony because (1) Hager's opinions are not based upon any apparent methodology; (2) Hager's proffered opinions would not assist the trier of fact; and (3) Hager's report does not comply with all of Rule 26's requirements.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and the Daubert Standard

         Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence provides:

If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and ...

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